Theatre and Performance Design


A Reader in Scenography

By Jane Collins, Andrew Nisbet

Paperback. 404 pages

SKU: 9780415432108 Category:


Theatre and Performance Design: A Reader in Scenography is an essential resource for those interested in the visual composition of performance and related scenographic practices.

Theatre and performance studies, cultural theory, fine art, philosophy and the social sciences are brought together in one volume to examine the principle forces that inform understanding of theatre and performance design.

The volume is organised thematically in five sections:

  • looking, the experience of seeing
  • space and place
  • the designer: the scenographic
  • bodies in space
  • making meaning

This major collection of key writings provides a much needed critical and contextual framework for the analysis of theatre and performance design. By locating this study within the broader field of scenography – the term increasingly used to describe a more integrated reading of performance – this unique anthology recognises the role played by all the elements of production in the creation of meaning.

Contributors include Josef Svoboda, Richard Foreman, Roland Barthes, Oscar Schlemmer, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Richard Schechner, Jonathan Crary, Elizabeth Wilson, Henri Lefebvre, Adolph Appia and Herbert Blau.

…in this fabulous reader Jane Collins and Andrew Nisbet have collected a fascinating range of existing and newly commissioned contributions that explore and expand our understanding of scenography in theatre and performance. A reader of this kind has long been missing and therefore warrants celebration.’ Paul Monaghan, Australasian Drama Studies

Table of contents

PART I: Looking: the experience of seeing

1 Appearance and reality BERTRAND RUSSELL

2 The simile of the cave PLATO

3 The draughtsman’s contract: how an artist creates an image JOHN WILLATS

4 The camera obscura and its subject JONATHAN CRARY

5 Meditations on a hobby horse or the roots of artistic form ERNST GOMBRICH

6 From Camera Lucida ROLAND BARTHES

7 The most concealed object HERBERT BLAU

8 Fascination and obsession SUSAN BENNETT

PART II: Space and place

9 Of other spaces MICHEL FOUCAULT

10 From The Production of Space HENRI LEFEBVRE

11 For a hierarchy of means of expression on the stage ADOLPHE APPIA

12 A taxonomy of spatial function GAY MCAULEY

13 6 axioms for environmental theatre: axiom three RICHARD SCHECHNER

14 Site-specifics NICK KAYE

15 Dancing in the streets: the sensuous manifold as a concept for designing experience SCOTT PALMER AND SITA POPAT

16 Grounding ANDREW TODD

17 Towards an aesthetic of virtual reality GABRIELLA GIANNACHI

18 The house. From cellar to garret. The significance of the hut GASTON BACHELARD

19 Making and contesting time-spaces DOREEN MASSEY

PART III: The designer: the scenographic

20 Postmodern design 145


21 “Oh, to make boardes to speak!” NICHOLAS TILL

22 Stage designs of a single gesture: the early work of Robert Edmond Jones ARTHUR B. FEINSOD

23 Foreword to The Stage is Set LEE SIMONSON

24 Hope, hopelessness / presence, absence: scenographic innovation and the poetic spaces of Jo Mielziner, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller LIAM DOONA

25 Brecht and stage design: the Bühnenbildner and the Bühnenbauer CHRISTOPHER BAUGH

26 The diseases of costume ROLAND BARTHES

27 My idea of the theatre TADEUSZ KANTOR

28 Visual composition, mostly RICHARD FOREMAN

29 Defining and reconstructing theatre sound ADRIAN CURTIN

30 On performance writing TIM ETCHELLS

PART IV: Bodies in space 231

31 Docile bodies MICHEL FOUCAULT


33 Of language and the flesh THOMAS LAQUEUR

34 From Adorned in Dreams ELIZABETH WILSON

35 The actor and the über-marionette EDWARD GORDON CRAIG

36 Man and art figure OSKAR SCHLEMMER

37 From Towards a Poor Theatre JERZY GROTOWSKI

38 Woman, man, dog, tree: two decades of intimate and monumental bodies in Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater GABRIELLE CODY

39 The will to evolve JANE GOODALL

40 Glow: an interview with Gideon Obarzanek CRISTIANE BOUGER

PART V: Making meaning

41 The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility: second version WALTER BENJAMIN

42 Interaction between text and reader WOLFGANG ISER

43 Semiotics LOIS TYSON

44 Limits of analysis, limits of theory and Pavis’s questionnaire PATRICE PAVIS

45 Sound design: the scenography of engagement and distraction ROSS BROWN

46 Olfactory performances SALLY BANES

47 The naturalistic theatre and the Theatre of Mood VSEVOLOD MEYERHOLD

48 Theatre and cruelty ANTONIN ARTAUD

49 The humanist theatre/The catastrophic theatre and The cult of accessibility and the Theatre of Obscurity HOWARD BARKER

50 Drawing in rehearsal RAE SMITH

51 Speech introducing Freud ROBERT WILSON

52 From The Secret of Theatrical Space JOSEF SVOBODA

Additional information

Weight 0.88 kg